Eagle-eyed online users noticed on Sunday morning that the Google Search Knowledge Graph card for Sir Winston Churchill lacked an accompanying image. They claimed that no image displayed when pulling up a list of former prime ministers that the search engine generates.
Instead of his picture appearing alongside other UK prime ministers such as David Cameron and Margaret Thatcher, a blank grey avatar was shown.
Google Knowledge Panels and Graphs summarize key information about a person and typically includes a paragraph usually sourced from Wikipedia, key dates, family, quote, and related queries.
After his picture appeared to vanish, it has since reappeared.
It comes after more than 100 people were arrested at a far-right protest in London, which was condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “racist thuggery”.
Six police officers suffered minor injuries in violent clashes in London yesterday as several hundred demonstrators, mostly white men, attended protests organised by far-right groups who claimed they wanted to protect statues such as Winston Churchill from vandalism.
On Friday, the statue of Winston Churchill was also boarded up to prevent it from being targeted by protesters both from the Black Lives Matter movement and far-right groups.
Some members of the Black Lives Matter movement claimed that the statue should be taken down and had the words written “was a racist” on it last weekend.
A request to Google for an explanation by a user, read: “The images on the search results are taken from Wikipedia, it’s not clear to me why this would break in only the UK and the US.
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“We’ll want to explore exactly why an automatic update caused it to disappear & see if there are any improvements in those systems to address.
“We apologise for any concern. This was not purposeful & will be resolved.
“Images in such panels are automatically created & updated. During an update, they can briefly disappear.”
Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy also joined in the Churchill debate on Sunday morning saying tweets about Winston Churchill’s statue by the Prime Minister were a “deflection”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Lammy said: “Boris Johnson sent out eight tweets, I think it was, on Friday on Winston Churchill and statues.
“He’s never tweeted eight times in a day on coronavirus, he’s never tweeted eight times in a day on the Windrush review or what he’s going to do about it, or on the review that David Cameron asked me to do on disproportionality in the criminal justice system and what he’s going to do about it.
“This feels to me like a bit of a deflection. Let’s get to the action, let’s have some substance, let’s do something about these historic injustices that still exist in our country.”
Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames said he was saddened that the former prime minister’s statue had to be boarded up over the weekend.